Re: I think my son is ready to have more than just milk for meals… but how do I know for sure? What are the best first foods?
Generally, babies are ready to start trying solid foods around six months. If your son is showing interest in other foods (think grabbing for your chicken wings and staring at your cereal) and able to sit up in his high chair, it's probably a good time to start. Best to run it past your pediatrician before starting the taste tests, though.
The standard first food is single-grain baby cereal (often rice cereal or oatmeal) mixed with breast milk or formula, but there's no official scientific data that says you have to start with that. From whole-grains, move on to strained, mashed and finely pureed fruits and veggies like bananas and sweet potatoes. Allow about at least two to three days between each new food introduction to monitor for allergic reactions. At eight months or so, try pureed table foods like turkey and cottage cheese.
Stay away from honey until baby is at least a year. Some pediatricians recommend against fish and eggs in baby's first year, but there's actually no evidence that early introduction to them can cause allergies. Don't ever force foods -- if baby repeatedly refuses to try something new, he's simply not ready yet. And remember, baby still needs breast milk or formula until at least a year.
Plus, more from The Bump:
How to Make Your Own Baby Food
Baby Food Recipes for Every Stage
Best Foods for Baby (and a Few to Avoid)
* article updated October 3, 2012